The Jordan Brand, a Modern-Day Empire



The new line of Jordan gear for the 2020-21 season, unveiled on the Nike website. The shirt, shorts, and shoes are available to customers worldwide. “The Jordan brand has changed clothing and the sneaker game forever.” Tinker Hatfield, creator of the Jordan 1, stated.

Nicolas Creus, Sports Editor

Ever since Micheal Jordan first stepped onto the NBA floor in October 1984 rocking the Air Jordan 1s, his brand has become iconic in both sports and pop culture. Its various sneakers have revolutionized the meaning and value of what customers wear on their feet, and the company changed the culture of footwear and managed to create one of the biggest and most well-known clothing lines in the world. 

The Jordan Brand has become a lasting symbol for endurance, determination, and a winning mentality for basketball players such as myself. It has been able to preserve its strong image as the most iconic basketball shoe line due to its distinct model iterations and their appeal to different eras. Nike was a small brand in the 80s, while Converse was a perennial powerhouse in the game of athletic shoes. After the Air Jordan 1’s became a retail success in 1984, Nike believed that as customers searched for their next buy, they would prefer their innovative products. Implementing the latest technology and creating new patterns and designs are key traits that Nike has looked for in every integration of the shoe they’ve released ever since. As Converse sales began to decline in the mid-80s due to little innovation, Nike released the modified Air Jordan 2 in 1986 and later the Air Jordan 3 in 1988, which paved the way for the company’s cultural and financial successful future.

The brand started with designs meant for basketball players, yet they became more. People started to wear Jordans to the movies, classes, and even proms. The creative heads of the Jordan team started noticing this trend and saw an opportunity to expand their business beyond sports. Today Jordans are a pop culture icon. Their style, comfort, and “drip”, or fashionable attributes, have made their prices skyrocket, and products ranging from shoes to jackets, gloves, shirts, and other items. They’ve paved the way for brands such as Under Armour to seek expansion beyond their usual business. However, Under Armour, which markets around basketball, football, and baseball, doesn’t receive nearly as much revenue as Nike does per year. Their market restrictions and simplistic product variety have caused their image to become lesser-known, limiting their clientele to solely athletes.

The Jordan brand has taken the concept of collaborations from something that brands used to do every so often, to a keystone in their business. Jordan has had extensive alliances with well-known names such as Travis Scott, McDonald’s, JBalvin, and Supreme just to name a few. However, their most well-received partnership came when Miles Morales, star of “SpiderMan into the Spider-Verse” rocked a rare Jordan 1 silhouette on-screen. It was so popular that when they released a special edition real life Miles Morales model, it sold out in 2 minutes worldwide. While other brands such as Reebok have tried to advertise their shoes with celebrities and movies, such as  “Kill Bill”, they earned little to no brand recognition. Even though the LE was placed in one of the best-received movies of all time, sales did not show a significant increase and sneakerheads had no urge to buy this Reebok model due to its lack of uniqueness and style.

Sports brands are often limited by the products they can sell, yet Jordan has been able to expand into other sports such as football, baseball, volleyball, and soccer. For instance, the brand notably teamed up with the European soccer club PSG. They landed a four-year contract with the organization, as opposed to expensive special kits or products that are only offered for a limited time like the “Juventus-Palace Skateboards” kit sold only during the 2018-19 season, priced at $290. Jordan actively seeks potential buyers in Europe and around the world. By entering the soccer world through PSG with affordable kits at around $80, they are able to merge sports with relatively low prices and continuous idiosyncratic colors and designs on their Jordan Away jerseys every season.

From the 1 to the 35, from soccer kits to movies, from the 80s to the 2020s, the Jordan brand is creating an empire all around the world. Its search for expansion and creative business models have made it one of the most recognizable enterprises today. Next time you might want to buy a new shirt, shoes, or shorts, take a look at Jordan and chances are, there is bound to be something that’ll catch your eye.